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A bipartisan deal reached to avert U.S. government default. Also on our Tuesday rundown: a new report calculates the high hospital costs for employers. Plus, new legislation could help protect Florida's at-risk wildlife.

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New Net-Metering Law Sparks Rush to Install Solar

The amount utility companies have to pay for excess energy decreases after this year. (
The amount utility companies have to pay for excess energy decreases after this year. (
August 21, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Across Indiana, there's a rush to install solar panels before the end of the year, because legislation passed this year lowers the amount utility companies have to pay for excess energy produced by home solar systems.

Senate Bill 309 reduces the payback through net metering over time. Environmental groups and Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), a faith-based organization that works to educate people about the need to conserve energy and go green, vigorously opposed it.

Trisha Tull, the group’s program facilitator, says IPL has been holding climate workshops around the state for religious leaders, community members and teachers.

"Because there are so many people who think it's just a political issue and that it shouldn't be talked about, because it's been politicized by people who are climate deniers and don't want us to do anything," she explains.

Utility companies back the legislation, saying other customers currently are subsidizing solar users to be on the grid.

Solar workshops are being held this week in Noblesville and Fort Wayne with another in South Bend, Indianapolis and Carmel next month.

IPL has 41 chapters across the country and helps religious institutions install solar panels on their roofs.

Tull says IPL also encourages church leaders to talk to congregations about the need to turn to cleaner energy.

She stresses climate change is a moral conversation that should take place.

"Because climate change is already affecting the poorest people in the world who have the least to do with creating the problems, it's already affecting nature itself and it will be affecting future generations,” she states.

Advocates say Indiana homeowners who get locked into the current net-metering system will be able to pay the cost of it off sooner.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN